We as human beings are good at a lot of things and one of the top things we do well is play the blame game. We so often assume it will get us out of our troubles, but more often than not we just dig a deeper hole for ourselves when we indulge in it.
Such was the case in ancient Israel when they had a theocracy under the only true, righteous God. Jehovah set up Israel with his law and judges to carry out his wishes that would be accountable to the people. Among his many purposes for this was so they would be the envy of all the nations, so all nations would want to have their laws, their type of people, and ultimately want to serve their God (see Deuteronomy 4:6-8).
However, when Samuel and his sons were judges, Samuel’s sons were known for their corruption (1 Samuel 8:3). The elders of Israel used that as an excuse to reject Jehovah’s theocratic system altogether when they demanded Samuel to give them a king, blaming and rejecting God because of the corruption. In reality they only had themselves to blame because throughout the Mosaic law God had all kinds of checks and balances for the people to use if they ever had corrupt people in power. God revealed to Samuel the real reason why they made the demand for a king. It was because they wanted to run after other gods (1 Samuel 8:8) and used the monarchies other nations had set up as a cover of their true desire.
So Jehovah, being the God who allows free will, told Samuel not to resist them, but to let them know upfront what having a king would mean for them as a nation. Essentially, their monarchy system would make things worse for them by stripping them of the best and brightest people in all industries who would end up working for the government, thereby making the government bigger and more oppressive. They would have more wars, more taxation, and less wealth (1 Samuel 8:8-18). If they ever came to the realization of their huge mistake of having a king and cried out to God for relief, the Lord assured them their prayers would go unheeded. Despite all these warnings, Israel forged ahead with their demand for a king. Everything God warned them about took place and their regrets came too late.
Centuries later when they reaped all the consequences of their sins, they actually accused God of being unfair to them for all the bad things that happened. The Lord responded:
25 Yet ye say, The way of the Lord is not equal. Hear now, O house of Israel; Is not my way equal? are not your ways unequal?
26 When a righteous man turneth away from his righteousness, and committeth iniquity, and dieth in them; for his iniquity that he hath done shall he die.
27 Again, when the wicked man turneth away from his wickedness that he hath committed, and doeth that which is lawful and right, he shall save his soul alive. Ezekiel 18
They actually expected God to let them commit evil without consequence, which would have been unfair. This is what happens so often today when many of us lash out at God (including Christianity) and blame him or his people when we suffer consequences of our own actions. Personal responsibility is at the heart of God’s message. It requires us to examine ourselves before we look elsewhere.
Harry A. Gaylord